Engage: January 2012 Archives

By Michael Lipkowitz, Class of 2012

Twelve kids get on the wrong school bus. First the bus takes them to different places in Chicago--Lincoln Park Zoo, the Loop, the middle of Lake Michigan.  Suddenly the bus swerves westward and speeds them across the country to California. The kids get out to enjoy the sunshine, only to discover a moment later that the bus is revving up to speed them to New York City.  They hop in with glee as they speed across the wide-open deserts of Nevada.


This is not the latest story ripped from the headlines; rather, it is a creative piece written by a group of twelve 3rd-to-6th graders in an elementary school on Chicago's South Side.  They are part of Southside Scribblers, an after-school creative writing program run by University of Chicago undergraduates. Scribblers is a Community Service Recognized Student Organization that has been around since 1994, starting out its life as Student Teachers.

IMG_0611.JPGAs a child, Caesarei Marsh was very independent - in ways not always to his own benefit. At nine years old, he was already roaming the streets of the South Side and abusing drugs. He's been through a lifetime and a half of tragic events - being shot, time in prison, you name it.

This however is not the end of his story. Though he took a tumultuous path, his individuality also gave him the ability to become a powerful vehicle for change in his community later on in life. Caesarei now works as a case manager at Inspiration Corporation's Living Room Café at 64th and Cottage Grove - the same place that helped him get off the streets. [The Living Room Café was founded in 1995 by SSA Alum Jennifer Kihm (AM '94).]